Over the years the Navara has impressed with its reliability, capability and that impressive 3 000kg towing capacity. Now the Safari package takes the Navara to new heights. The vehicle has been developed with the help of 4x4 expert, Glyn Demmer, who advised as to which features a discerning 4x4 owner would find most useful.
The Navara Safari is based on the Navara 2.5 dCi Double Cab 4x4 LE with the five-speed automatic gearbox, meaning power stands at 140kW/450Nm. The powertrain pulls well, although the engine is noisy when trying to get up to speed. The torque delivery is good, while the perceptible lag is not as bad as I had expected.
This special edition comes with all-terrain tyres, a front-mounted nudge bar, Safari embossed seat covers, Safari branded carpets, a rubberised load box with tonneau cover, cargo protection, aerodynamic drag improvement and aesthetic enhancement, underbody protection plates for the engine, gearbox and transfer case, protective rock-sliders, which protect the side sills and removable tow bar with recovery points.
In terms of looks, there’s not much that’s changed apart from the safari badges, the beefier tyres and the enhanced underbody protection, meaning you still get the same Navara silhouette, which I feel has aged well.
Inside, there’s quite a bit of plastic as is to be expected in a bakkie. There are nice-to-haves, such as Bluetooth telephone/audio along with USB/iPod/AUX compatibility. There are steering-mounted controls, including cruise control, which is handy in a vehicle that will be used for family holidays over a long distance.
I get the distinct impression - as I do in a Hilux - that the Navara will last forever. Some may say the Hilux and Navara are long in the tooth however, I think it means they’ve had time to prove themselves in the market. The average bakkie owner in South Africa wants reliability and durability, which the Navara delivers.
In terms of off-road ability, all those added features come in handy and provide you, the driver, with more confidence when tackling an off-road situation. There’s a low-range setting too, which comes in handy when climbing steep or slippery obstacles.
The Navara Safari is a fine example of how a few tweaks can make an ageing product more relevant in an increasingly competitive market. The Safari has a unique selling proposition in that it comes ready to take on 4x4 challenges, meaning it will find favour with current Navara owners and enthusiasts alike.
The Navara Safari comes standard with a three-year/100 000km warranty and a three-year/90 000km service plan.